Sharpshooters Closing on the Herd is, in a way, a play on words, since the warrior has a Sharps 50 caliber buffalo rifle in his hands, says artist Howard Terpning. This was a very powerful rifle and highly prized by the buffalo people. It’s getting late in the day and they may have been following this herd for many miles. If one buffalo sensed danger and started to run, the whole herd would run, so caution was very important. The Blackfoot hunters are downwind of the buffalo and are judging the distance from their prey in the hope that they can get off a shot before they are spotted. They have a good vantage point on this rock outcropping so there may be meat in camp tonight.
With its stunning color palette and deceptively simple composition, this Terpning masterpiece tells a complete story of man, survival and the beauty of the physical world. These two hunters, with their expressions of patient determination, will finish the hunt and deliver food to those waiting back in camp.